By City News Service
Two former servers at a Burbank golf course are suing the city, alleging they were forced to resign because they could no longer endure sexually oriented remarks and conduct by two male employees, as well as similar behavior from male customers known as the “rabbit crew.”
The allegations in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit brought by Lexi Burrows and Brooklynn Lundberg include constructive termination, sex and gender discrimination, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and various state Labor Code violations.
Burrows, 37, and Lundberg, 24, seek unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. A representative for the city of Burbank did not reply to a request for comment on the suit brought April 28.
“This action arises out of the torment, retaliation, harassment, discrimination and constructive termination of two dedicated women who work as servers,” according to the suit, which states the DeBell Municipal Golf Course is owned by the city and has been managed by Touchstone Golf LLC since December 2018.
Burrows and Lundberg worked as servers at DeBell’s restaurant and banquet hall and also served golfers snacks during play from a window at the back of the kitchen, the suit states.
After the plaintiffs were hired, DeBell’s food and beverage general manager began making continuing, unwelcome and inappropriate sexual comments, including how he “checked out” women “from head to toe” and said things implying that he desired to be intimate with some of them, the suit alleges.
The general manager also made fun of brides by making comments such as, “Wow, she’s really fat,” while saying that they nonetheless had other admirable body features, the suit alleges.
When employees told the general manager that a former DeBell cart pusher had become well-known for her music video on Tik Tok, he allegedly replied, “good thing … because she’s not very smart and what else would she do.”
The general manager also made negative comments about transgender persons, including Caitlyn Jenner, the suit states.
A male server also made inappropriate sexual comments to Lundberg and asked her personal questions about her and her boyfriend, the suit states.
The male server “repeatedly told Ms. Lundberg in detail about his sexual escapades, his sex addiction and his manipulation of women with whom he had sexual relations, which she repeatedly told him to stop sharing,” the suit states.
No investigation of the general manager’s or the male server’s alleged actions were taken either even though their conduct was witnessed by other employees, according to the suit, which further states management also did nothing to stop the hugging of female employees by regular male customers known as the “rabbit crew.”
One rabbit crew member sexually assaulted Burrows in late March 2022 while she was off duty and not on the golf course premises and she filed a police report, the suit states. However, the general manager did not stop the customer from returning and made Burrows work on days the guest was present in retaliation for complaining, the suit alleges.
The general manager also made misogynist remarks in the workplace, including that female employees needed to leave before male employees because “girls cannot work that hard,” the suit states.
Women were assigned menial tasks by the general manager, who treated them as if they were unintelligent, the suit states.
Asian, Black and Armenian customers were disparaged by the general manager, and he told Burrows and Lundberg to continue serving drinks to customers who were already intoxicated, the suit states.
Burrows and Lundberg were not paid all of tips they earned, were forced to work through meal and rest breaks and were paid less than male workers, the suit alleges.
Burrows and Lundberg quit in February because they could no longer put up with their work conditions, according to the suit, which additionally states that both women have lost income, seen their reputations damaged and suffered emotional distress.
First published in the May 6 print issue of the Burbank Leader.